Position – Full sun
Soil – Moist, well-drained
Flowering Period – July to November
Hardiness – Half hardy
Diascia are annuals or semi-evergreen perennials that are native to South Africa and are a close relative of the snapdragon (Antirrhinum). Diascia were once an uncommon plant although in recent times their popularity has risen. The main reason for this, aside from the colour range, is their ability to grow well in containers. Diascia have a mat forming habit where beautiful spikes of flowers are held. You should expect to see Diascia grow to an approximate height of 20cm (8”) and a spread of 30cm (12”).
Diascia are best planted in moist, well-drained soil of sand, chalk and loam within an alkaline, neutral or acidic PH balance. Although Diascia are half hardy, they may survive a mild winter if positioned in a sheltered spot, although generally they are best placed in full sun and removed before temperatures get too cold. Dig a hole that is as deep and as wide as the root ball and space companion plants at an appropriate distance to support the mature size of your plants. Back fill the planting area and water thoroughly to settle the plant in place.
Cut Diascia back in late April and again in late August if they are getting too straggly. Pinch the tops out to make the plant bushier, stronger and to produce more flowers. Water Diascia frequently to keep the soil moist, especially during periods of drought. Deadhead any spent flowers to prolong the flowering season.
The best way to propagate Diascia is by cuttings which should be taken between May and September. Find new growth that is slightly hard with few flower buds and cut below the node. Each cutting should be roughly 4" long and stripped of any lower leaves. Stick them in porous rooting matter such as a 50/50 mix of compost and horticultural sand.
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